Friday, March 7, 2008

Highest Career WHIP, Minimum 1000 IP

In baseball parlance, WHIP stands for Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched. That's pretty self-explanatory, though Milwaukee Brewers color commentator Bill Schroeder has proclaimed, "we used to just call that baserunners!" Either way, the idea is the fewer walks and hits a pitcher gives up, the better. This makes sense: it's hard to score a lot of runs if you don't allow many baserunners.

A quick look at a chart of WHIP since 1901 I put together from AL and NL data shows, like most statistics, WHIP has varied over time. Recently, however, the average WHIP has been somewhere around 1.40. Of course, regular starters are usually below that number. For example, in 2007, only three pitchers qualified for the ERA title with an above average WHIP: Doug Davis, Miguel Batista, and Andy Pettitte. Only ten more pitchers were within 0.05 of the average WHIP (1.406). I should note that fifty-five pitchers qualified for the ERA title last season.

Rather than focus on individual seasons right now, however, I want to look at a pitcher's career. It's not inconceivable for a pitcher to have a train wreck of a season and get a high WHIP; it's harder for a pitcher to stick around for a long time while walking and giving up hits often. Therefore, I've decided to look up the pitchers with the highest career WHIP. I've used's minimum of 1000 innings pitched and looked only at stats after 1901.

Highest Career WHIP, Minimum 1000 Innings Pitched

  1. Chief Hogsett, 1.646
  2. Jimmy Haynes, 1.632
  3. Jack Wilson, 1.621
  4. Ken Chase, 1.615
  5. Tommy Byrne, 1.597
  6. Gordon Rhodes, 1.595
  7. Vern Kennedy, 1.591
  8. Percy Jones, 1.590
  9. Jamey Wright*, 1.589
  10. Hank Johnson, 1.570
  11. Bobby Witt, 1.569
  12. Jack Knott, 1.5601
  13. Alex Ferguson, 1.5600
  14. Buck Ross, 1.551
  15. Pat Rapp, 1.550
  16. Jason Bere, 1.549
  17. Lil Stoner, 1.5483
  18. Jason Jennings*, 1.5481
  19. Sheriff Blake, 1.547
  20. Roy Mahaffey, 1.546
* - active player

The list of WHIP leaders from the opposite end is available at That list also includes players from the nineteenth century.

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